tv Piers Morgan Tonight CNN December 15, 2012 12:00am-1:00am PST
that those parents who were not reunited with their children they know that those childrens bodies are still in the school tonight. those teachers, those adults who were also shot, the six of them, their bodies are also in the school tonight. positive identifications have to be done. the coroner's office has a huge task. the investigation of the shots. over 100 rounds by one estimation. there is a massic forensic project under way and at the same time a massive emotional project for this community in newtown, connecticut to somehow heal as we head in to the holidays holidays across this country. piers morgan starts now. breaking news. live at a community in morning after the worth mass shooting in american history.
a gunman walked into sandy hook elementary school in newtown, connecticut and opened fire. he killed 20 children, young children from 5 to 10 years old. the shootings took place in two rooms of one section of the school and he killed at least six adults before killing himself. police found the body of the suspect's mother in his home earlier in the day. a prayer vigil was held in a church and took place a mile away from the sandy hook elementary. hundreds were in attendance. at the white house a vigil was held with people gathering for more gun control. many say it demands tougher legislation. in the white house, a visibly shaken president obama offered these words about the mass killing. >> the majority of those who died today were children. beautiful little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old. they had their entire lives ahead of them. birthdays, graduations,
weddings, kids of their own. among the fallen were also teachers. men and women who devoted their lives to helping our children fulfill their dreams. >> highly emotional president obama reflecting how most of the nation would have been feeling and tonight police have identified the killer as adam lanza. this is his brother ryan lanza being taken into questioning. much more on the shooter ahead. i'll talk to his former classmate. susan candiotti has new details from outside the school. a desperate day for the school and the families of the poor children and for america. what do we know about the person who perpetrated the hideous crime? >> reporter: you know, it is so heartbreaking, piers. we are learning he is 20-year-old adam lanza. we know according to our sources that for whatever reason when he
came to the school this day, he was wearing what is described to me as black battle fatigues and a military vest. he came armed with three weapons. two of them handguns. one as a glock and another as a sig sauer and a third police found in the vehicle. the two weapons were found on him in the school. the third was found, the bushmaster which is a semi automatic was found in a car outside the school. what led him to this? we don't know. we do know this. police have questioned both his brother and his father. his brother was taken into custody for questioning only. he is not being called a suspect. from his apartment in hoboken, new jersey. we understand the father was also questioned by authorities here in the newtown, connecticut area. the father is divorced from nancy lanza.
she is the mother of the two who is a schoolteacher and counted among the dead. her body was found in a residence here in the newtown area, as well. believe it or not, piers, the weapons according to authorities were owned by the mother, nancy lanza in this case. not by the shooter. still trying to piece together a motive. there are signs we are hearing from our sources that the shooter may have suffered from some kind of personality disorder. did he leave notes behind? did he tell anyone what he was planning to do? among the many questions that we all have tonight. >> susan candiotti, thank you very much indeed. i want to turn to ashleigh banfield. she's in newtown, connecticut as well. i was watching when you were speaking to wolf blitzer and you became very emotional. two of your children went to school in connecticut and you were not sure what was happening with them. thankfully they were okay. but this is every parent's
nightmare. from what we understand the bodies of these poor children are still lying there on what the police are calling the crime scene of the school. the parents can't even see them. it's an unimaginable horror. >> reporter: there is no other way to put it. unimaginable horror and an evil visited upon the community according to the governor of connecticut who spoke here earlier. another detail for you that i want to share about how some of these parents learned they wouldn't be seeing their children again. i think you already know the detail that many of the children were rushed out of the school. out of the sandy hook elementary by the police and teachers and raced on foot to a nearby fire station which became the staging area. there were robocalls that went out. we heard the robocalls saying parents of the sandy hook students, come to this fire station to be reunited with your children. throughout the day there was one area within that fire station where the children were kept and
they were shown movies until their parents could come and find them. there was another area where a number of the parents were milling about, waiting for students to be brought into the fire station. you can imagine it was a chaotic scene for sometime. slowly but surely over the course of the day parents arrived and children were taken away and parents continued to wait and other children didn't arrive and ultimately there was a moment where they had to tell the waiting parents there will be no more reunions tonight. i'm told from someone who was inside that area in a room adjacent that at the moment the parents were told there would be no more children coming there were wails that were released. the person who told me this she said she completely broke down. there was a nurse on hand who volunteered having worked two decades in the business. her brother telling me that she just wanted to be there and help in any way she could as a grief counsellor and was present at
that time as well. a horrifying moment if you can imagine being those parents who is waited and waited and waited only to hear this and ultimately like you said, they know the bodies of their children are still in that school tonight. >> it's hard to imagine anything worse in the world. thank you for now. i will be joined by the mayor of danbury right next to newtown. thank you for joining me. this is almost beyond description, beyond any understanding. how is the community dealing with this or are they? what can you do? >> well, obviously it's been a horrific day in the greater danbury area and particularly the town of newtown. our heart goes out to the individuals who lost loved ones today and obviously the children and the staff and everybody else. it's been an incredibly difficult day.
i have to tell you that we're doing what needs to be done. the first responders were tremendous and the staff have been heroic in terms of their approach to this. it's an absolute international tragedy and crisis. >> i understand that you knew the principal of the school who also was killed. >> that's correct. i had the honor of working in the same school system and very close proximity to dawn who passed away today. she was a teacher in the school system and elevated up through the ranks and ended up the principal here in newtown. a committed, hardworking and dedicated educator. someone who cared deeply about the kids and put kids first in every facet and every way in which she executed her job and
somebody who we all admired working with her children as a professional. >> extremely sad day and i appreciate you joining me. i can only wish you the very best. as you're trying to rebuild the community. did you know if there plans for more vigils tomorrow? >> there are vigils scheduled throughout the weekend. in addition to that, connecticut itself is having a simultaneous vigil that they are trying to organize right now where each town and village and city will take a moment out and spend time reflecting and maybe starting once we get through this initial shock and reflecting a little bit about our public policy positions in terms of things like gun control and how we deal with folks who are mentally disabled. once we understand this horrific tragedy that occurred. i think that conversation will
be started over the next couple of weeks. >> thank you very much indeed for joining me. >> thank you, piers. >> we can't imagine what it was like in the school. sofia was there and just 8 years old. she's a student at sandy hook. she joins me now with her mother, brenda. thank you both for joining me. if i may start with you, brenda. this is every mother's nightmare. when was the first you heard about this and how did you hear? >> i received a call from the school system from the superintendent saying that there was a shooting in newtown, but didn't say it was a school. that the schools were on lockdown. i wasn't too concerned because i didn't know where it happened. i received a text on my phone from a news organization and they said that sandy hook school had a shooting. i got in my car and i went over to the school and there were already state police and the
fire and newtown police. >> when you got there, obviously scenes of complete chaos, how quickly was it that you realized your daughter was safe? >> okay. when i got there, there was complete chaos, but i did see moms and a neighbor and asked them what happened and they said they didn't know. that there was a shooting and i saw a neighbor like i said and he said they carried out a little girl and she looked like she was dead. instantly i panicked because of my baby here, but thankfully no sooner he said that i looked towards the kids being brought from the school to the firehouse and i saw her class and i ran up and i said where is sofia and they said she is okay. she's coming. i saw her with her teacher and we all were taken into the firehouse and kept so they could do a roll call and make sure all the students were accounted for.
>> sofia, it's been a terrifying day for you and your friends. what did you think was happening? were you aware somebody was firing a gun in the school? >> can you hear, honey? >> not really. >> she can't really hear. she told me that they heard pops in the hallway. the teacher told me also, courtney martin is my hero, she locked the door immediately and brought all the kids to a corner of the room where they stayed there. they were scared and shaken, but they didn't know what was going on until later when they were brought into the firehouse. police came and knocked on the door and said it's okay, you can come out. they guided them to the back of the school and they walked over to the firehouse. that's where i caught up with sofia. >> how is sophia now?
it must have been a traumatic experience for all the children who survived this. >> i think she is numb right now. she is a pretty bright kid and she has a big support staff at home and we love her very much and she will be fine. we are devastated for the rest of the families. we don't know who was hurt. i do know my close friends's children are okay, but we don't know who the children were. >> i don't know if she can hear me or not, but i wondered if she wanted to say anything about what happened to her today. >> do you want to say anything, honey? are you sure? i think she's too cold now. >> she should probably go home with her mom. it's been a terrifying day for everybody involved. i am so grateful that you were able to see your daughter.
obviously your heart must go out to the poor families who have not been able to see their poor children again. >> it's a small community and it's a close-knit school and devastating. i will be here for anybody and our prayers go out to all the families. >> thank you very much indeed. >> i'm just the luckiest lady right now. thank you. >> thank you very much indeed for joining me. i appreciate it. >> thank you. thank you very much. >> very lucky indeed. the gunman is adam lanza and joining me is lanza's former classmate, alex israel. thank you for joining me. you knew this character. is this something you could have predicted he would one day flip and do something as monsterous as this? >> i don't know if you can ever predict something like that would happen. you never think it's going to happen to your school and where you lived your whole life.
i don't know if i could have predicted it. there was something off about him. i knew him closely when we were very young in elementary school together. he was always a little bit different. he mostly stuck to himself. i don't know if you can say you could have predicted this. >> he was by all accounts a pretty clever young man, almost a genius in math. tell me about that side of him. >> i was never in any of his classes or anything like that, but yeah, you could definitely tell he was i would say a genius. there was definitely something there that was a little bit above the rest of us. >> did he have friends? was he sociable? >> i always saw him alone when he was walking through the school or sitting at the table, sitting on the bus. i'm sure he had a few maybe close friends through school or through his classes. most of the time i saw him, he
was alone. >> how would you describe his personality? >> he was really quiet. he kept to himself. he was a little fidgety. a little uneasy sometimes if you were to look at him. i think he was just socially not really into going out there and making as many friends as everyone was doing in elementary school and middle school. he preferred to stay to himself. >> did you know his family, his mother in particular? >> i knew her because we lived in the neighborhood. i knew her through neighborhood events. my mom knew her. she was a very nice woman. a kindergarten teacher obviously. i didn't know her personally, but from what i remember, she was a nice woman. >> his parents got divorced. were you aware of that having a big impact on him? >> i don't know when they got divorced. i have known him since about
first grade and he has always been the way i described him. he's always been reserved, quiet. so i don't know if the divorce had anything to do with that or when they divorced. that could have caused that or made it worse as he got older and became a little bit more reserved. i'm not sure if that affected it. >> where were you when you heard about what happened and what was your immediate reaction when you discovered it was this person you knew? >> it was devastating. i'm in london now studying here for the semester and coming home on thursday to this. i found out first early this morning i guess probably when it broke at home. it was around 2:00 and the first information of it, it's defense tate -- devastating to think something like that could happen in a town where you lived. i felt safe my whole life and i was raised in that elementary school and the school system there and finding out it was someone i knew who had done all
of this is just upsetting. you can't imagine that would ever happen. >> the community around newtown, how would you describe it? i'm hearing it was a very -- it's a kind of quiet place and this stuff never happens. they don't get many shootings and gun murders. this is an exceptional kind of place in that sense. >> no. i mean it's a pretty big town space-wise. we span over a pretty vast array of land, but it's really close-knit in that everyone knows each other and is close with each other and the school systems are close. you grow up with these people and go to school with them. everyone came together i think through this. they are really supporting each other quite well. that's one good thing to come out of it if anything. >> when was the last time you spoke to adam lanza? >> probably middle school. i didn't have any connection with him in high school. middle school probably.
the last time i said a word to him. >> your summary is kind of fidgety and slightly a loner and not massively sociable, but not apparently dangerous. >> no, i mean i never noticed anything scary or violent or anything like that. i would never have expected that from him, i don't think. just for someone who sort of went under the radar and kept to themselves, you wouldn't really think of them as doing something crazy like this. >> it must have been a heck of a shock to you and i am grateful for you joining us to give us perspective on the character of this person. i appreciate you joining me. thank you. >> thank you. coming up next, the psychology of the shooter, adam lanza. two experts are here to talk about the gunman.
responsibility it was to educate and supervise those children. the perpetrator of the crime is dead. as is an individual who the perpetrator lived with. >> the connecticut governor talking about this tragedy. we have new information on the gunman, adam lanza. he was wearing a bullet proof vest. what could have driven him to do with this? welcome to you both. let me start with you, dr. amadore. you've been involved in many of these kinds of incidents and possibly nothing as appalling as this. there seems to be a pattern with aurora and the shopping mall shooting last week. young men in their early 20s suddenly flipping and getting ahold of weapons and causing outrages. what is driving them? what is the possible background to what is going on here? >> working on a lot of these
cases, there are a number of different causes that can be divided into two broad categories. one category is people who have that trait of a loss of empathy and inability to connect to other people and a history of cruelty or what people talk about as sociopaths or antisocial personality. at the other end people with brain disorders and serious mental illnesses that are untreated or because of what's happening in their life, exacerbated by stress. it sounds like the little bit that is coming out, we are more in a direction that this is someone with a brain disorder and other parts of the story that it may take years to uncover what triggered this. there is nothing sudden about any of these stories. that's the headline for me. it's sudden for us that this happened. as you begin to understand the
story, i assure you the warning signs were there. not that they were ignored, but they were not recognized. >> are people like this as likely to carry out what they end up doing if they didn't have easy access to firearms? >> look, there is no question that firearms play a role. i can tell you from experience if somebody wants to kill a number of people, there other weapons of destruction and ways to make bombs and at least one case i worked on. firearms are certainly an important part of the picture, but understanding when somebody has a mental illness if it has played a role here, and i'm not saying i know that it has, but it needs to be carefully considered before allowing that person to have a firearm. >> frank, you specialize in treating post traumatic stress and the effects of violence. a very particular problem here
with so many young people at the school who have luckily survived. having to deal now with th horror of losing possible friends and people that they knew from the school and teachers and the head teacher and so on. where do you start with trying to counsel young children when this kind of appalling thing happens? >> i think the first thing is helping the parents. the children look to their parents and for the parents, some of them are stunned. they are grieving. they lost a precious 6-year-old. for the children themselves, sometimes children who go through this and do survive take a while to make sense out of it. they may regress and move backwards a year or two in terms of their normal development. some of them will figure out years later what actually happened.
some are going to do relatively well. they will be sadder and wiser in a way. the most important thing is what i see happening right now. that community is coming together. people are loving each other. the president has come to remind us that we are a nation who cares and he came as a father. i am a father and a grandfather. i have called my children and i want to know how they are doing with their children. as we come together, we do the best that we can at a sad time like this. >> i suppose the big question is why would this shooter do what he did? go to a classroom and murder so many young children of such a young tender age, possibly the classroom that his mother was already killed at their home.
can you try to piece from your experience the thought process here? why he would then having killed his mother go to the school and do what he did? >> i don't have a crystal ball and i haven't diagnosed or assessed him. and i'm not saying that people with mental illness are not more violent. let me be crystal clear about that. that's not the case. simply not the data we have. if indeed mental illness is a part of this, there is a particular path that needs to be looked at. is this somebody who became suicidally depressed. and with his autism, his roommate alex israel said he preferred to stay alone. a symptom of asperger's and this is one report coming out, which may or may not be true, is something is missing in the brain, the capacity for empathy and social connection that leaves the person suffering from this condition. they are prone to serious depression and anxiety.
if they are suicidally depressed, we don't know enough. what i am trying to do in agreeing to come here is to ask people to don't rush to judgment about who this young man is. we don't have enough information. if it was mental illness that played a role, it's an opportunity for us to do better. >> there is a school of thought that you shouldn't give him any attention and name him and so on because it brings attention to him. my view is that he's dead and woman be able to basque in the glory of what he did. >> you're making the assumption that he wants to bass income the glory of what we did. we don't know that. i spend many hours with men like this who killed dozens of people. they don't necessarily want glory. they are seriously ill. others who do want glory. you are rushing to a particular interpretation of this. it's way too soon to know. >> and piers -- >> sorry. frank, go ahead. >> i would like to endorse that
also. i know for the whole country, we really want to know why this happened. when you are a parent you can't stop thinking about these questions that you are asking. we have to be very careful in answering them. when you mentioned that we had several similar cases recently, yes, these were similar in that guns were used and they were spree killings and mass killings. i can tell you as a medical doctor and psychiatrist who worked closely with the fbi on cases, there are dramatically different motives and mentalities. there are people who don't have a conscience. they torture animals. they have no basis in their mind for empathy or sympathy. they learn how to fake it. one of the columbine killers fit that pattern, but the other was completely different.
he was not a psychopath. in the case of the aurora shooter, the jury is not in yet, but i have a feeling we will find he was on the verge of major mental illness about delusions and hallucinations. one time in my life i was responsible for the federal program of mental health services in america. i have to admit we failed. we failed america in protecting the lives of the seriously mentally ill. most of what they do is suffer in silence. their families want to do better by them and as a country we have not stepped up and been sympathetic and caring and appropriate for the seriously mentally ill. >> an extremely important point. what i was going to say is you both have made extremely valid points. my point really is that you have three successive appalling mass shootings involving young men in their 20s
where the background to all of them was not dissimilar. they seem to be fairly normal kind of slightly off, but nothing with alarm bells. the point of examining their character is that there must be a good likelihood that there are others like hg them out there who may be considering similar atrocities. how do people who know these types of people spot any warning signs? >> piers -- >> let me start with the doctor. >> i'm sorry. i have three small children. before this interview they asked me what i was doing and we talked about this for about an hour and a half. my 9-year-old got frightened, he goes to elementary school. i explained to him that these things are exceedingly rare. let's not forget, this is exceedingly rare. just because something happened in the last month doesn't statistically make it a common occurrence. let's be clear and tell our
children that. the other thing is that this is an opportunity to turn tragedy into an opportunity to fix some of the things that are terribly broken in our mental health care system. we do know how to identify people at risk for violence. it's all at the level of state funding. sorry about get into the specifics, but it's mental health care and screening of not only young adults and children who offer a good assessment, we can in fact do a much better job of not only caring for the people and identify those who would never be violent if not for a mental illness. that is one bit of the story. there is another part which is what i think that most people are more familiar with and interested in because of movies. the diabolical sociopath. both stories are true, but both are actually quite rare. >> the final word, make it brief
if you may. >> america has more gun deaths than any other advanced nation in the world. we have laws that say if you are seriously mentally ill, you shouldn't possess a weapon and we don't enforce the laws. we have to get together across this divide and need the nra to step up and say they believe in gun safety and not just in gun ownership. we need politicians on both sides of the aisle to tackle this problem. or we're going to have more dead american children. >> thankou both very much. still ahead, we will talk to survivors of another shooting, but next the push for more gun control after the tragedy. we'll debate it. ñ?
these neighborhoods are our neighborhoods. these children are our children. we are going to have to coming to and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this regardless of the politics. >> president obama on the shooting. the massacre is raising new questions about the access of guns in america.
joining me now is my panel. let's start with you. you were pretty outspoken saying this is time to bring in new gun control laws. >> yes. if this doesn't wake us up, i don't know what will. i was heartened that the president said we had to take meaningful action and the only thing he can do is lead a crusade for reasonable gun control legislation in congress. these massacres are taking place more and more often. we saw bay the way today a similar incident in china where a mad man attacked an elementary school in china with a knife with 22 injured children. injured, not dead. that's the difference. in the united states we have 9,000 people killed with guns last year in similar countries like germany, 170 and canada 150.
there is a reason for that. >> what would you like to see in terms of specific gun control? >> there a number of pieces of legislation we have been pushing. no reasonable gunowner who is a sportsman can object to bans on assault weapons made only to kill as many human beings as possible like in a military situation. no one can object to a ban on the sale of large ammunition clips so you can't reload. no one can object to microstamping of car traj -- cartridges so you can trace the murd e we pop. no one can object to eliminating the gunshot exception so even if you buy a gun at a gun show, they still have to check your background to make sure they are not selling to someone on a terrorist watch list or mentally unstable person or a felon. those are the reasonable things we should do. >> we had a heated debate on a
previous incident. two things happened in 1996. there was a massacre in tasmania in which 35 people were killed. the australians, led by the prime minister, he brought in draconian laws after that. he banned semi automatic rifles and shot guns. as a result of the next decade, firearm homicide rate fell by 59% and suicide rate fell by 65%. >> not true. >> it is true. >> no, it's not. if you look over time -- >> it is true. >> i'm telling you people can look up the statistics themselves. what you find is for decades the murder rate was falling in australia. it basically stopped falling. if you just compare the average over two decades where it's falling to what it was afterwards, it makes it look like the average before is higher than afterwards. if you look on a year by year basis, there wasn't that fall.
>> why does adam lanza's mother need to have these three weapons? >> can i follow-through on the australian thing? >> no, why does she need to have these three weapons, legally purchased, including this semi automatic bushmaster? why would a woman teacher at a kindergarten need these weapons in her home, allowing a clearly deranged son to take them and commit this atrocity? >> whatever that gun looks like, it's a semi automatic rifle. any hunting rifle is semi automatic. just because it looks different on the outside doesn't mean it functions differently. he fired over 100 rounds in several minutes with this apparently harmless rifle. >> nobody said guns are harmless. >> you are trying to say it's an average gun. he fired over 100 rounds and killed 20 children. 20 children between 5 and 10.
what point do you gun lobby guys say we get it? it's time for change? >> it is time. >> time to do what? >> to get rid of the gun laws that cause -- >> which ones? >> look at what happened. all these attacks this year occurred where guns are banned. look at the aurora shooting. there was seven movie -- >> what the hell has that got to do with it? seriously. what has that got to do with it? >> you never let me explain. can i say something? >> is it a gun-free zone. >> look at the movie theater one. there were seven movie theaters showing the batman movie within a 20-minute drive of where the killer lived. only one of those banned guns. he didn't go to the theater closest to his home. he went to the one theater that banned guns. if you look at bans generally, you can't point to a place, chicago, d.c. where we ban guns and murder rates and violent crimes went up.
in the uk in jamaica and ireland, island nations that banned guns, you can't find a place where murder rates have gone down. they have gone up usually by large amounts. >> you cannot find a place -- >> first of all, basically every statistic that john cited is pure bunk in terms of the fact that the more guns equal -- that's true. they were gun-free zones, but attributing that to the fact that this violence occurred, that's where i have to step in. listen, my brother was shot in a shooting on top of the empire state building which was chaotic. i know firsthand i talked with the victims from the aurora tragedy. and all these tragedies. to a person, they all say if there were another person armed, it would have led to more carnage. >> they've stopped many cases. >> excuse me.
>> name one case where that's happened. if every one of the cases they say if there were more guns, it would have only led to more chaos. look at the empire building shooting here in new york. there were highly trained officers in the chaos and eight other people shot and every one was an innocent civilian and every one was shot by a law enforcement officer. >> we have the attorney for the responsible gun owners. you believe that there should be more guns in schools. is that right? >> i believe those of us who are licensed to carry are responsible people and shouldn't be prohibited from carrying in schools or other places. in fact, the michigan legislature passed a bill last night and sent to the governor for signature a bill that would allow those of us who are licensed to take more day of training including range time and be able to carry in the places where we couldn't carry before. >> why on earth would you want more guns in schools after what happened today? >> here's why, piers.
if we could suddenly make all guns disappear, i would have a different position. i spend a lot of time thinking about this and reading about this. i teach a class called gun control seminar and i get a new group of law students every term and we discuss this in detail. the simple facts are guns exist. they are essentially 1800s technology. even sell u automatics came into being in the late 1800s. they are easy to make and last several human lifetimes with minimal maintenance. since guns exist and we know for a fact that the only way to stop an evil person like the person you were discussing earlier in the show is to shoot them. >> hang on. this is exactly the argument i have been hearing ever since i joined cnn. i joined on air about a week after gabby giffords the congresswoman was shot in the head. ever since then, we have the sikh temple and aurora and the shopping mall and so on and so on.
guy downstairs shot in front of our new york bureau. the argument i keep hearing if everybody was was armed, it wouldn't happen. it's hog wash, isn't it? if everyone in that movie theater had guns, more people would have been killed in the mayhem that erupted. >> give an example -- >> there is proof -- >> they have reasonable laws and they have 100 people a year not 9,000 or 10,000 a year. >> listen -- >> it was lower before gun control. >> they got the gun control laws -- >> the point is gun control didn't change it. >> scotland in 1996 there was a similar school shooting.
just an awful situation. 16 young children killed exactly as they were today. as a result of this, they brought in a handgun ban. 162,000 handguns were handed in. it is time for this. >> murder rates went up. >> there about 35 murders a year. >> but it was lower for another reasoning. >> there are 12,000 murders a year from guns in this country. when are you guys going to focus on that and stop telling me the answer is more guns. it is not the answer. >> listen, listen, listen -- >> after the ban, it was higher than it was before the ban. >> you want more guns and not less? 300 million guns in america is not enough for you? >> when you ban guns -- >> how many more kids have to die before you guys say we want less guns, not more? >> he asked me a question. >> let him answer the question. >> i'm upset because i worry that the gun control laws that you're pushing have killed people.
>> oh, what a load of nonsense. nonsense. average of 35 killings in britain a year in a place of banned handguns. >> but it was more before they had the gun control laws. >> i have been debating this all week with the shopping mall shooting and months if not two years. i am so frustrated and furious for these kids who are being blown away again with legally acquired weapons. some boy who has problems takes his mother's three weapons including this ridiculous assault rifle and goes in the school and kills these kids and you guys still want to tell me the answer is more guns? it is madness! >> how else can you stop someone from shooting people. what are we most angry about?
every poll shows by massive majorities americans agree with what you said. yet we have a lobby. the leadership of the nra, who function as enablelers of mass murderers. >> absolutely not true. >> they terrify the political people and even though polling shows that most nra members would support reasonable gun controls, they come in and lie and say they will take your guns away and stop any legislation to prevent that. >> nobody outside the military and police in this country needs one of these. nobody, end of story. >> i have to say something. >> the encouraging thing and what you should take inspiration because we are all frustrated and outraged. this conversation and what these guys are saying does not represent what the american public wants and the conversation that the american public wants to have. we are all in favor of things like criminal background checks. 74% of nra members are and most
gun sales do not require a background check. that's something we all agree on. there are things that we can do -- >> it's not as they try to tell me an anti-american thing to say i respect the second amendment and i respect the right of every family to defend themselves. i don't respect the right for families to load their homes with these so a disturbed kid can take them and something into a school. we are ending the debate for now, but this will continue next week. come back next week when you've had time to think about this. you have to change your thinking. the gun lobby has to change its thinking. >> why do all of these -- >> we'll leave it there. coming next, survivors from other mass shootings share their thoughts on today's appalling massacre.
one of the most disturbing images from the shooting, police officers escorting schoolchildren from the school. another picture from the mass shooting in 1999. from a jewish center in california. we have a victim of the shooting, joins me now. and we have another jcc survivor, and a survivor of the tragedy in aurora, and the
brother of a shooting at the empire state building. welcome to you all. let me start if i may with josh. this must have brought back awful memories for you today, as it does i would imagine whenever there is a mass shooting in america. what were your feelings? >> it's -- it's impossible to put words to what i really feel. it's a mixture of sympathy and disgust. and my heart goes out to those families and there are people who have gone through the same thing and who understand what are you going through, and immediately what i thought was just that i wish that there was something i could do to help them. but, you know, in reality, it's a helpless situation. >> mindy, you survived what happened to you. when you hear the raging gun debate, which will be particularly vociferous in light of this appalling act today.
what do you think? do you wish what happened after you and josh tougher laws had been brought in after that to try and do something about this? >> you know, i do. i think josh and i and everyone in our community in this weird family we have, survivors of gun violence, wishes the day after what happened to them, nobody else has to go through it. unfortunately, 13.5 years later, we're sitting here watching these tragedies unfold on a daily basis. >> you were 16 at the time of the shooting. obviously, a lot of kids at the school today will be much younger than that, and they will have either lost friends or people they knew at the school it will be very difficult for them when they have to go back. what advice would you give them? what is the best way to try and deal with this? what do you think? >> you know, to be honest, it's heartbreaking. because they are not going to know really what or how to feel until five, ten years from now, when it actually keeps haunting
them and nightmares and fears that keep coming up. josh can speak to that himself, he was six years old at the time, and, you know, now he's in his 20s and it haunts him every day. i was 16, i knew why i was shot. i knew somebody tried to kill me, and every day, my entire life, i'm almost 30 years old, i'm haunted. there is nothing i can say to them that i am so, so sorry they have to go through this, and i really truly hope something will be done after today, because we cannot stand for this anymore. >> steven barton, you survived the aurora massacre a few months ago, a huge outcry then and people promised to do all sorts of things, politician mouths the usual rhetoric, absolutely nothing happened, and lo and behold, here we are with an even worse tragedy. more dead, and this time, 20 young kids. what are your views about the debate that will now unfold on this? >> i mean, i think the president
said we need a meaningful action now, and he said that in the past, and so i'll be waiting for that action. it's a shame that 20 children have to be slain for us to even start talking about this. but i really think that the american public is fed up with the lack of conversation on this issue. >> and there will be more mass shootings in the last five or six years and in the previous four decades in terms of the particularly appalling ones. and yet you keep being told, well, not as bad as it seems. the situation, but it truly is. since i've been here, i've been utterly horrified, why i get so animated when i debate it on the show. i come from a country where this would be unthinkable. movie theaters, shopping malls, kindergarten classrooms would be shot down in an indiscriminate way on a bimonthly basis. i don't get why americans aren't far more angry. >> it's one thing for a
politician to take action, but it's equally important that the american public demands these reforms, these changes, and the polling is clear. support for common sense gun reform. 82% of gun owners support universal background checks. it's a failure of the system we haven't arrived at that point yet. >> paula, your brother was killed in the empire state building shooting. when we talked before, you believe in the right to own a handgun and a referendum on guns wasn't needed. what do you feel today? >> i think in the wake of today a referendum on guns is needed. i was talking on the day my brother was murdered. and this -- as a father, innocent children, i see the heartbreak. we have to go back to that. we have 20 families, 26 families that are devastated right now,